Children's Services Leadership Academy
Graduates Second Class of Managers
With more than 60 years of experience at Children's Services among them, you would think Francisca Culley, Ronald Bridges, and Perpetua Igueatu would have over the years learned pretty much everything they need to do their jobs. But the three deputy directors in the Division of Child Protection say their three months of training at the Children's Services Leadership Academy enabled each of them to look at their responsibilities with fresh eyes. The three were among 29 managers and supervisors to graduate June 5th from the Children's Services Leadership Academy in a ceremony at the Hunter College School of Social Work.
"The Academy actually turns people upside down to get the right side up," said Ms. Igueatu. "It strengthened my priorities, re-arranged my thinking processes, enhanced the skills that I already have and filled in the gaps."
The Leadership Academy is a professional development opportunity designed specifically for key managers and leaders in Children's Services borough offices; the curriculum is designed to provide them with the tools, knowledge, skills, and opportunities to continue their development as leaders at ACS, and to focus on strengthening the work of the agency. Commissioner John Mattingly spoke about the impact Leadership Academy grads will be able to make on ACS with their heightened knowledge and skills. Deputy Commissioner Jan Flory acknowledged the hard work that each graduate accomplished and explained that this is the beginning of great things to come.
Ronald Bridges, Deputy Director of Administration in the Bronx, oversees staff development and training, community preventive services, and administrative support. He has been working at ACS since 1985, most of that time as manager. But he says the training sharpened his skills and gave him a different perspective on leadership. "I learned how to better collaborate with people who have a different leadership style than I do," he said. "The training has helped me to appreciate the people, the human aspect of the operation."
The leadership training also helped Bridges to make an important self-assessment.
"The first aspect of the Leadership Academy asks to look at oneself and give a self-assessment," he explained. "All good Management training involves looking at oneself and how one's attitudes and behaviors influence others. Managers are leaders, and must understand how the leverage of their affects is in a position to effect change. A manager who is aware of his or her affects places him/herself in a position to be successful."
Perpetua Igueatu, Deputy Director for Child Evaluation & Family Assessment Programs in the Bronx borough office, has been working at ACS for 19 years. "The focus was intensely on the relationships: ours with ourselves, with our staff and colleagues, with the communities around us and most importantly, with the families," she said.
She is already using her newly reinforced skills with her management team and is encouraging all managers to experience the training. "I have begun to document all the information that I obtained [from the Leadership Academy]. My goal is to make them agenda issues in my supervisions with Child Protective Managers and staff. Honestly, I did not believe that the training will be as good as I heard. I thought that the previous class overrated it. My hope is that the Academy will continue to register and train more staff."
Francisca Culley, Deputy Director of Operation in the Queens borough office, has been working at ACS for 18 years. "In supervision, we try to listen more to the workers and not just look at statistics," she said. "Each person's opinion matters. The training was very good. I found it interesting and educational. I would encourage CPS Managers to attend."